Pune civic body faces Rs 2.28 crore fine for illegal land deal
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has faced a fine of Rs 2.28 crore by flouting a norm and giving away state government’s land on lease. Subsequently, the district administration has deducted the penalty amount from the state government’s grants that go to the civic body to carry out works in the city.
In 1992, the district administration had allotted around 2-acre land owned by the state government to the corporation to develop a playground in Yerwada. However, the PMC’s land estate department passed a proposal last week to give the land to the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) — an autonomous scientific society of the department of electronics and information technology on lease. Before handing over the property on rent, the PMC is supposed to seek permission from the district collector. However, flouting this particular norm, the civic body went ahead and decided to give away the piece of land. The decision to fine the corporation was taken by district collector Saurabh Rao last month.
The land is located in Vishrantwadi, Yerwada. The chunk of land is behind Parulekar School. In the area, there are swimming pools and a gymnasium as well. The remaining plot is open and there is a religious structure that has encroached a part of the total area. The corporation had been asked to demolish the structure.
Talking about the penalty imposed on the civic body, Satish Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of the land and estate department, PMC, explained media, “The PMC had only passed a proposal last week to give the land to C-DAC. However, we hadn’t made any agreement nor had we started charging C-DAC for occupying the land. Even then the district collector has sent us a letter informing about the fine imposed on the body. But, we have put forth all the facts before him. I still don’t know how he recovered the penalty amount from corporation. I will have to look into it.”
In a report submitted by Haveli tehsildar to the district collector, the corporation has also demanded a piece of land to construct an overhead water tank. While the district administration has been positive about giving the land for the tank, it has raised strong objection to the deal between the PMC and C-DAC. The report said, “As per law, the corporation needs to take permission from the district administration before taking a final call.”
Even Dr Siddharth Dhende, deputy mayor, criticised PMC for its decision. He said, “It is unacceptable on the part of the civic body to flout such anorm. The fine amount should have been collected from the errant PMC officers who were a part of this proposal. In case the general body has decided to make this agreement, then corporators concerned need to shell out money from their own pockets to pay the penalty amount. The state government’s decision will affect public’s money.” The fine amount should have been collected from the errant PMC officers who were a part of this proposal instead.